Above Avalon Episode 127: Let's Go Behind the Scenes

Last week, Neil celebrated the third anniversary of launching Above Avalon subscriptions. Episode 127 provides a behind-the-scenes look at Above Avalon and includes a discussion of Neil's business model and the broader paid subscription industry. Neil then goes over some of the highlights and challenges from the first three years of Above Avalon subscriptions. The episode concludes with a closer look at Above Avalon's place in the Apple blogosphere and the major changes that have unfolded in the space. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

Above Avalon Subscriptions Turn Three (weekly article)

Episode 82: Above Avalon 101 (podcast) 

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Above Avalon Episode 126: Let's Talk Apple Services

Apple's services business is remarkably strong yet surprisingly mysterious. A closer look at Apple Services reveals an apparatus, which can easily qualify as a Fortune 100 company, that isn't what it seems from the outside. In episode 126, Neil puts together a few pieces of the Apple Services puzzle. After going over the five categories that comprise Apple Services, Neil goes over his financial estimates for each category. This leads to an overview of Apple's Services strategy and a look ahead at where Services growth will likely originate. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

The Apple Services Machine (weekly Above Avalon article)

Episode 75: The Apple Services Myth (Above Avalon podcast) 

Demystifying Apple Services, Apple Services and Hardware Dependency, Estimating Apple's Paid Subscription Mix (Above Avalon daily email)

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Above Avalon Episode 125: How's the iPhone X Doing?

In this special edition episode of the Above Avalon podcast, Neil goes over Apple's 2Q18 earnings. The discussion is dedicated to analyzing iPhone results. Along with going over his iPhone X sales estimates, Neil discusses the latest iPhone ASP and iPhone channel inventory adjustment trends. The episode concludes with Neil's theory as to why iPhone supply chain rumors have been off when it comes to iPhone X. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

The Goldilocks Era for iPhone Has Begun (weekly article)

My 2Q18 Apple earnings review - major themes and full notes (available exclusively to Above Avalon subscribers)

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Above Avalon Episode 124: Doubling the Buyback

In Episode 124, Neil discusses how Apple's capital allocation goals will require the company to double the pace of share buyback from current levels. The episode begins by going over the various updates Apple has pushed through to its share buyback and cash dividends. Attention then turns to Apple's excess cash position, which plays a key role in any discussion involving capital return. The episode concludes with Neil going over one possible path Apple can follow to reach an optimal capital strategy in a timely manner. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

Making the Case for Doubling Apple's Share Buyback Pace (weekly article)

The End to Apple's Cash Dilemma (weekly article) 

Above Avalon Episode 59: Apple Dividends (podcast)

My 2Q18 Apple earnings preview (available exclusively to Above Avalon subscribers)

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Above Avalon Episode 123: Apple's New Wall Street Story

Episode 123 takes a closer look at Apple's capital allocation story on Wall Street. After discussing why narratives are so important on Wall Street, Neil goes over the core tenets of a capital allocation story and how the narrative does a good job of describing Apple's design-led culture. Neil then goes over a number of implications found with Apple possessing a capital allocation narrative on Wall Street. The episode concludes with a discussion regarding Apple's valuation trends relative to the market. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

Above Avalon Episode 102: Apple Cash Influence (podcast)

Apple Found a Wall Street Narrative (Above Avalon weekly article)

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Above Avalon Episode 122: An Apple R&D Bonanza

After a brief lull, Apple's R&D expenditures are once again exploding higher. In Episode 122, Neil analyzes the latest Apple R&D trends. After discussing three drivers for R&D growth, Neil goes over the two new products likely responsible for the recent surge in R&D expenditures. The episode concludes with Neil's grand theory on Apple R&D. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

An Apple R&D Bonanza (Above Avalon weekly article)

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Above Avalon Episode 121: Controlling Sound

In Episode 121, Neil discusses Apple's strategy for controlling sound in our lives. The discussion begins by going over Apple's motivation for controlling sound and the central role music plays in it. The episode then turns to the two parts of Apple's strategy: sound on the go and sound in the home. Neil goes over how iPod, iPhone, AirPods, and now HomePod, play a role in Apple's strategy for controlling sound. The episode concludes with a few reasons why Apple's sound in the home strategy appears to be much more precarious than its sound on the go plans. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

Apple's Strategy for Controlling Sound (Above Avalon weekly article)

Steve Jobs introduces original iPod (YouTube)

The first iPod commercial (YouTube)

Steve Jobs introduces the iPod Hi-Fi (YouTube - starts at 12-minute mark)

HomePod - Welcome Home by Spike Jonze (YouTube)

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Above Avalon Episode 120: An iPhone Turning Point

Episode 120 is focused on how Apple's dramatic change in strategy regarding larger iPhones was driven by the realization that iPad mini was the wrong bet. After discussing the early iPad years, Neil goes over the background behind how the iPad mini came to be. Neil then discusses how Apple found itself flat-footed with larger smartphone screens and how a different perspective toward smartphones and tablets ultimately led Apple to a stronger iPhone vision and strategy. The episode concludes with three lessons to be taken from the situation. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

The iPhone's Turning Point (Above Avalon weekly article)

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Above Avalon Episode 119: The iPhone's Goldilocks Era

The unit sales growth era that had defined iPhone for years is over. Episode 119 is dedicated to discussing the iPhone's new era that can best be characterized as status quo. After discussing iPhone sales trends, Neil goes over six headwinds that have come together to create a much less friendly iPhone sales growth environment. The discussion turns to how the dynamic between the two main iPhone sales drivers show a more resilient business. Neil then goes over how key iPhone fundamentals will trend during the Goldilocks era. The episode concludes with a look at the risks and wildcards to the iPhone business. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

The Goldilocks Era for iPhone Has Begun (Above Avalon weekly article)

The Goldilocks Era for iPhone, Apple's Lack of iPhone Visibility, Thursday Q&A (daily update for subscribers)

Apple 1Q18 Earnings Review (daily update for subscribers)

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Above Avalon Episode 118: Apple Watch Is a Bridge to the Future

Something is changing when it comes to the way people are thinking about Apple Watch. We are witnessing nothing short of a revolution with Apple Watch. In Episode 118, Neil discusses how Apple Watch has become a bridge between the present and future. The device holds the potential to become more disruptive to the current computing paradigm than even Apple may want to acknowledge. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

Apple Watch Is a Bridge to the Future (Above Avalon weekly article)

Apple Watch & Apple Music ad (YouTube)

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Above Avalon Episode 117: Lots of Questions

January is a great time to embrace the unknown found with a new year. Episode 117 is focused on going over my list of questions for Apple in 2018. We cover more than 60 questions on subjects that range from Apple's major product categories to various managerial and organizational topics. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Show Notes:

Apple Questions for 2018 (weekly article)

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Above Avalon Episode 116: Grading Apple's 2017

Episode 116 is dedicated to reviewing Apple's performance in 2017. After briefly discussing my methodology for grading Apple, we discuss the various milestones and issues that impacted the company in 2017. My grading process is broken into seven categories (iPad, Apple Watch, iPhone, Mac, Accessories, Services, Financial Strategy). The episode concludes with my overall grade for Apple in 2017 and a few closing thoughts on what turned out to be a very busy year for management. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Show Notes:

Grading Apple's 2017 (weekly article)

Apple Publishes Message About iPhone Throttling (member email)

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Above Avalon Episode 115: Betting on Hardware

Apple isn't a hardware company. Nevertheless, hardware's importance to Apple continues to grow. Episode 115 is dedicated to discussing Apple's growing bet on hardware. The episode begins by going over Apple's hardware strategy and includes a brief history of Apple's approach to hardware. The discussion then turns to Apple's hardware scale as we go over the company's overall product sales. We conclude with how Apple is doubling down on hardware in order to become the most powerful software provider in the wearables era. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Show Notes:

Apple's Growing Bet on Hardware (weekly article)

Above Avalon Podcast archive 

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Above Avalon Episode 114: The End to Apple's Cash Dilemma

The probability of a U.S. corporate tax overhaul has never been higher. Episode 114 is dedicated to discussing how upcoming changes to the U.S. corporate tax code will impact Apple. We begin by going over Apple's current cash dilemma. The discussion then turns to the two significant changes that will take place with Apple's cash and balance sheet strategy assuming the U.S. corporate tax code is overhauled. The rest of the episode is dedicated to talking about Apple's excess cash and the options to spend the excess cash that Apple faces. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Show Notes:

The End to Apple's Cash Dilemma (weekly article)

Apple's Stock Buyback Program Primer (Above Avalon member exclusive analysis)

Probability of Apple Launching a Tender Offer (Above Avalon member exclusive analysis)

More information on becoming an Above Avalon member

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Above Avalon Episode 113: It's a Smart Speaker Mirage

We are in the midst of a massive mindshare bubble involving stationary smart speakers in the home. Episode 113 is dedicated to discussing stationary smart speakers powered by digital voice assistants. After going over my Amazon Echo sales estimate, we look at why certain companies are placing big bets on stationary smart speakers and why there are already signs that the rosy and optimistic narrative facing the product category is off. The discussion then turns to the three distinct possibilities as to the stationary smart speaker's future. We end with how smart speakers ultimately end up competing with wearables. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.     

Show Notes:

A Stationary Smart Speaker Mirage (weekly article)

TechCrunch's initial take on Amazon Echo from 2014

Estimating Amazon Echo sales (member email)

Apple Watch adoption math (member email)

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Above Avalon Episode 112: The Art of Disclosure

The fourth season of the Above Avalon Podcast kicks off with a discussion focused on Apple Watch sales disclosure. We take a closer look at the debate surrounding disclosure to see how Apple now stands to benefit more from disclosing Apple Watch sales than from keeping them hidden. The discussion goes over the four major changes that have swung the disclosure debate in favor of Apple providing Apple Watch data. We look at one possible path that Apple can use going forward to disclose Apple Watch sales on a quarterly basis. The episode concludes with a broader look at financial disclosure at public companies and how Apple manages its financial disclosure strategy. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.        

Show Notes:

It's Time for Apple to Disclose Apple Watch Sales (weekly article)

Above Avalon Episode 102: Apple Cash Influence (podcast)

Apple Watch Installed Base and User Base Estimates (member email)

More information on Above Avalon Membership

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Above Avalon Episode 111: Let's Talk iPhone X

Apple was faced with a choice: Stick with the familiar and milk the iPhone business for all it’s worth, or throw familiarity out the window to pave a new iPhone journey for the next 10 years. Apple chose the latter, and iPhone X is the byproduct. Episode 111 is dedicated to discussing iPhone X. We begin by going over Apple's motivation behind iPhone X. The discussion then turns to my initial impressions and thoughts from using the device. We go over Apple's strategy regarding iPhone X reviews and conclude with Apple's ultimate goal with iPhone X. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.

Show Notes:

iPhone X (weekly article)

iPhone X Initial Impressions (video)

Apple 4Q17 Earnings Review (email for Above Avalon members)

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Above Avalon Episode 110: A Double Standard

Apple is a Silicon Valley and Wall Street leader with a bull's-eye on its back, and rightly so. Leaders should be held to a higher standard. Episode 110 is dedicated to discussing how Apple is being held not only to a higher standard, but also to a double standard. We begin by going over what it means for Apple to face a double standard. The discussion then goes over examples of how companies not named Apple are being graded on a curve. After looking at how Apple's double standard impacts the company's Apple Watch and China narratives in the press, we go over my three theories for why a double standard is being applied to Apple. The episode concludes with a few solutions for removing this double standard. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.

Show Notes:

Apple Is Facing a Double Standard (weekly article) 

Apple 4Q17 Earnings Preview (email for Above Avalon members)

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Above Avalon Episode 109: Apple's Grand Vision

Apple's product strategy has been receiving more attention lately as voice-first and AI-first become buzzwords in Silicon Valley. Episode 109 is dedicated to discussing the vision behind Apple's product strategy. We begin by analyzing Apple's current product strategy and how the company's four major product categories are connected to each other. The discussion then turns to Apple's shifting product priorities. This brings us to Apple's grand vision and how there is a role for design to play in entirely new industries. After discussing issues and roadblocks Apple has faced following its grand vision, we conclude with how HomePod marketing sheds light on Apple's inevitable product path. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.

Show Notes:

Apple's Grand Vision (weekly article)

Above Avalon Episode 103 - Apple Glasses Are Inevitable (podcast)

Above Avalon Episode 95 - A Mac Headache (podcast)

Estimating the iPhone Installed Base and User Base (daily email for members)

Apple Watch Installed Base and User Base Estimates (daily email for members)

iPad Installed Base and User Base Estimates (daily email for members)

More information on Above Avalon Membership

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Above Avalon Episode 108: iPhone Courage

The amount of risk Apple is taking with iPhone X should not be underestimated. Episode 108 takes a closer look at how Apple is displaying courage by not letting fear of change and customer rejection dictate iPhone design decisions. The discussion begins with my iPhone X impressions. We then go over how the iPhone X fits within Apple's overall iPhone strategy. We go over examples of how Apple has displayed courage with iPhone in the past and why design has such a large impact on iPhone's future. The episode concludes by comparing Apple's approach to design with Samsung's approach. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.

Show Notes:

iPhone Courage (weekly article)

Estimating the iPhone Installed Base and User Base (daily email for members)

More information on Above Avalon Membership

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